We did pretty well at a leading PR industry awards program last week. Of the six programs we submitted for judging, two were named finalists. And, of those two, one won an award. So, if this particular awards' program embraced transparency, they'd have listed Peppercom's batting average as follows:
.333 (for programs nominated)
.500 (for finalists that won)
Sadly, there isn't ANY transparency in ANY industry awards program. And, that's a shame because, as last week's event made clear to anyone in attendance, the large agencies TOTALLY dominate the proceedings.
It got so bad that, in one category, the finalists for the 'best of' award were: “Edelman, Edelman, Ketchum, Edelman and Ketchum”. Needless to say, there was tremendous suspense as 1,000 or so attendees held our collective breath to hear the happy news: “And, the winner is… Ketchum!” Oh happy days!
Not only do the large agencies dominate every category, they also submit the same program again and again and again. The IBM Watson/Ketchum program was PR's version of 'The Artist.' It must have won 11 awards, including 'Best Screenplay by a Computer'.
The various PR awards' organizers refuse to level the playing field and fix the outrageous inequities by charging large agencies a lot more money per submission. They won't though. They say only the best programs win in each category. Maybe. Maybe not. When one is evaluating the 16th submission from Burson in the B-to-B category, one's eyes tend to glaze over.
So, rather than fix the fee structure, I have an alternative suggestion:
Our industry prides itself on authenticity and transparency, correct?
If so, why not publish everyone's batting average for the night? So, while Ketchum and Edelman may have won seven or eight awards each, it would be fascinating to know how many entries each submitted
Large agencies pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the awards process. I know this for a fact, having served as a judge for PRSA, PR News, PR Week, The Holmes Report and others, In fact, I vividly recall reviewing a single category comprised of 80 entries overall. Get this: half of the submissions came from two large agencies. That's just, plain wrong.
So, how about it? How about publishing a post awards scorecard that looks something like this:
- Total submissions: 101.
- Total finalists: 11.
- Batting average: .100
- Total submissions: 3,521.
- Total finalists: 17.
- Batting average: .003
3.) Padilla Spear Beardsley:
- Total submissions: 3.
- Total finalists: 1.
- Batting average: .333
If the playing field were truly level, we'd see who the night's REAL winners were.